Cleaning out

Well, I did say that the posts would likely be scattered.

I’ve been going through my drawers and cabinets trying to figure out what I’ll really want to bring with me. Stacks of blankets? I might need those no matter where I spend my winters and they can be laid out flat under the mattress for storage. Fifty billion t-shirts? I’ll have to sort through those and pick out my favorites. Two pie pans? I don’t use those for anything besides the occasional package of cinnamon rolls. And I doubt I’ll be making those on the road. Baking dishes, a million jelly-jar glasses, a thousand coffee mugs… I don’t need all of these. Granted, I won’t just take one of everything with me, but it will certainly be pared down significantly. I think that, by doing this now, it will give me more time to really figure out what is needed, what will go into storage, and what will be sent to the thrift store. By getting rid of a lot of this now, it has the added benefit of making my next move a lot easier.

I also need a workstation. After embroidering several items, it’s pretty clear that the desk is just not going to cut it. I’ll most likely end up making one to suit my needs since I am pretty sure I won’t be able to fit one through the door of the motor home. Heck, I’d probably have a hard time fitting one through my front door and that’s a standard one.

100_0037My main concern is really for the cats. I know that they are doing fine in this apartment, but even the big RVs are about one third the size of this place. Will being able to go outdoors on harnesses be enough? Will the travel stress them out too much? I can’t be sure, but I see that others have brought their cats on the road and all seems to be fine. I’ll just have to make sure to pay close attention and do what I can to head off any issues before they start. Another concern is for the food. Part of me thinks that a small freezer would be beneficial to keep enough fruits and veggies on hand. I will have to research the amperage and such to be sure that it will suffice, though.

The funny thing is that I am ready to head out now even though I’m nowhere near ready to buy the RV. Each day I have more items to add to The Raven’s Cauldron and I’m about to order more yarn for Alina Shea Creations (gradient skeins!). Each sale is a mini celebration since I know that it will bring me just a little closer to this goal. And, as long as I stay focused, I know that it will just be a matter of time.

In the meantime… this might sound pretty silly to some of you, but the other day when I was on the phone with my son, it occurred to me that I will not only get to visit with my customers and friends, but that I will also be able to visit places I’ve always wanted to see. Crazy, right? It took me a while to figure that one out.

For now, I will keep making things for the shops and I’ll keep downsizing all the clutter. I hope you’re all having a fabulous evening!

Simple preparations

I gave away seven pots of plants yesterday. No, not plants of pot. I had seven flowerpots full of plants that now have a new home. I chose very carefully which ones I’ll keep for myself and gave away the rest. A very cool young woman (J) came by and picked up the mini-orange tree, pineapple plant, ficus & evergreen trees, several African violets, the spider plants, and several cuttings from the cereus and Christmas cactus. J will be creating a terrarium with these plants to fill a large spot in her home. What I have left are the coffee plant, the original Christmas cactus and cereus, peppermint, and all the mini orchids and air plants. Eventually the orchids will be mounted in a wall hanging (most likely cork) so that they can happily decorate the spaces in the motor home. I’ll be rearranging the air plants pretty soon and they will stay on the driftwood that was a gift from a friend and the cholla branches my dad sent to me.

8395151770_f12e177e24_z (1) Why did I choose to rehome the ones I did? Well, the pineapple and miniature orange have sharp bits that might not be great in small spaces and the cats nibble on the other plants unless I keep them on a high shelf. In such a small space, I really don’t think that will work well. I’ll admit that it was oddly refreshing to see all that empty space in my room. I know that I will eventually buy a few more plants, but I’ll be very careful about the choosing. It will most likely be herbs and such, but that’s about it.

I measured out a space in the apartment that sort of represents the interior of a 30 foot RV and, since it’s mostly empty, it seems really big. I know that, once I move the yarn equipment over and rearrange a few things, the space will seem very small, but at least I’ll have a visual now.

I’m in the process of making a lot of cool items for the new shop and I’ve decided that a large portion of the profits will go toward the cost of the motor home. I’ll buy more supplies, of course, and add new items to the shop, but the sooner I can locate and purchase the RV, the sooner I can start renovating it so that I can move in. The renovations won’t be easy, but I don’t think they’ll be too difficult, either. A small list of what I plan to do is:

  • remove almost all the furniture (table, couch & chairs, beds)
  • possibly add more/larger windows
  • add a stronger fan for the stove exhaust (the dye pots tend to get really steamy)
  • build shelves & extra cabinets
  • figure out how to mount the skein winder & swift (I’ll only bring one of each on the road)
  • mount the warping board (I use that to make the striping yarn)
  • figure a safe way to secure the spinning wheel (possibly velcro straps on one wall)
  • install hooks to hang the yarn rack for drying
  • add a work table for making the candles and such
  • mount the embroidery machine (possibly not, since it might be better to put it away while I use the table)
  • mount a spool rack (with elastic bands to keep the spools from bouncing off while on the road)
  • install a twin futon (I assume that I need to secure it to the floor) and the drawers underneath
  • possibly add a shelf that runs the length of the RV for the cats to run around on
  • install a cat tree (secured to floor & ceiling) with extra scratch surfaces
  • install the water filter & distiller (so I can even use creek water)
  • install solar panels
  • paint the whole interior

This is just a small list so far. I’ll still need to figure out a safe place for the yarns & dyes, the supplies for the embroidery, supplies for candle making, and all the other business stuff such as shipping bags/boxes, labels, printer and all that. When I write it all out, it seems a little daunting, but I believe I can do it.

For now, I’ll just keep paring down the household items and decide which ones will go into storage and which ones will come with me. Eventually I’ll settle down, I think, and I’ll want some of the things that I won’t be taking with me. For example, all the photo albums & kids’ things. I figure that a storage unit somewhere in the middle section of the country would be best since I could reach it relatively easily (in case the winder breaks and I need the other one or something like that).

I’m also reading several full-time RVer blogs and learning all that I can about being on the road. Postal mail, insurance, taxes on the stuff I sell (that alone almost stopped me from doing this), and so much more. At this point, I’ll take almost any suggestions and information so that I’m more prepared once I actually hit the road.

I feel almost as if I’m putting more energy into this than I need to at this point, but the ideas are popping into my head almost every moment. And that is a really good thing.

To travel is to take a journey into yourself. ~ Danny Kaye

And so it begins…

Sunlight through the branches Hello, and welcome to the beginnings of my journey. I am Shayla and I look forward to sharing this with you. There may be long periods of time before a new post comes about, but that is mainly because the beginning sometimes doesn’t have a lot of action. I hope you understand.

Several years ago I had this idea to buy a motor home and travel around the country, selling my herbal salve to tattoo shops and health food stores, homeschooling my kids on the road, and generally traveling around to wherever the wind took us. I was in a relationship at the time and I knew that it wouldn’t work out so I stayed where I was. I set the dream of traveling aside because it just didn’t seem to fit into my life.

Here I am, nearly seven years later and I still want to hit the road. There are so many new events that have happened since that long ago dream and they have all led to the time when I can say that I’m going forward with it.

My children are now grown (Anthony) and nearly grown (Brianna) and I will be living alone for the first time in my life. It’s exhilarating and a little unnerving all at the same time. There is a freedom that I’ve never had the chance to experience until now. At first, I only shared this with a very small number of people and was actually afraid to share it publicly. Silly, right? Nevertheless, I had a fear that people would be negative about my news and would try to talk me out of it. It finally occurred to me that this was my dream and no one had the power to take it from me except, of course, me.

I invested in an embroidery machine to help bring more sales into the business and I’ll be opening a new shop in December. The new shop will have a variety of embroidered goods, candles, crystals, and much more. My goal is to make enough with the two shops to cover the cost of keeping them open and to be able to travel to the places where my customers live and visit with them. I think it would really be wonderful to sit down with them and knit while chatting away with them. And, I promise not to overstay.

So… now I’m saving for an RV. Not anything fancy, but an older model that I can remove all the furniture and renovate it to suit my needs (yarn business, embroidery machine, supplies, cats, open floor space, bold colors). The main idea is to get it renovated and move into an RV park (I found one that is close to work and pretty cheap) and keep working where I am until I have a sizable chunk for emergencies in my savings account. Then hit the road and start meeting with my customers, attending fiber shows, and all kinds of other stuff. I’d mostly stay in National parks and such since they are free (it’s called “boondocking”) and I’m planning to get a solar setup for the electricity and a water filter that will allow me to use water from creeks & rivers. I’d incorporate my current kitchen filter, too, so that my drinking water is double-clean. I’ve been looking into rocket stoves and other items that will make the yarn-dyeing easier and more efficient and I’m happy to say that there will be a lot of ways to cut the energy usage.

Right now I’m in the waiting period. I need to save up enough to cover the cost of the motor home and some of the renovations I’ll be needing. I think, if I’m super careful, that I can have enough money in 9-12 months. That seems like such a long time right now, but I’ll be doing all that I can to bring in more money to reach that first goal.

I know that this won’t be easy. At the same time, there will be compensations that will make up for the challenges. Meeting with people I’ve only known through Ravelry or Facebook, attending fiber shows, seeing the country, and meeting with other people who live in their motor homes full time, all of these add up to a potentially wonderful experience. And I look forward to each step of it.